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A marvelous journey with the Wonderettes

The music is fun and timeless and this show really has something that everyone in the audience will enjoy.
Theatre NWest Wonderettes
The Marvelous Wonderettes pose prettily for a photo during a press-invited preview of the show taking place at Theatre NorthWest Nov. 18 to Dec. 8. From left is Ali Watson, Maggie Trepanier, Becca Thackray, and Shelby Meaney.

The Marvelous Wonderettes is Theatre Northwest’s first show back after the shutdown and to say we are excited might just be the world’s greatest understatement. The show is on now and runs until December 8th.

I am fortunate to be working on The Marvelous Wonderettes as a choreographer and assistant director after a surprise two-year hiatus due to the virus that shall not be named. It has been a long journey to get the show stage ready. Auditions for this production actually took place back in February of 2020 at the Prince George Playhouse and were on hold from that point until about four months ago when the musical theatre community was invited to audition via video with callbacks taking place over Zoom.

It has certainly been a unique experience from the very start for all of us involved. Once the casting was complete the prep work for the show began. Costume and set designers got their visions down on paper and the visuals were sent along so the rest of the production team could begin their work using these designs. The incredible director (Sarah Rodgers), ultra-talented music director (Barb Parker) and myself communicated our visions and ideas for the show over numerous emails and Zoom calls beginning in the summer, up until the day of the first rehearsal and then, FINALLY, everyone arrived in the same room together for our table read!

Now, musical table reads are particularly challenging on any production but we really weren’t sure if this show was going to work for a table read at all. You see, The Marvelous Wonderettes has over 30 songs packed into the score and they are all written in a beautiful and complex four-part harmony. One does not simply “read” this show. Fortunately for us, our amazing actors had done their homework and came into that read extremely prepared. This gave the entire team the perfect jumping off point for our rehearsals and things have been step-touching along ever since.

The Marvelous Wonderettes was written by Roger Bean and was actually commissioned for a small black box theatre in Milwaukee that had no entrances and exits - meaning the performers needed to be on stage for the whole show. The original one-act version was also directed by Bean and took the stage in 1999. Due to its success in 1999 it was revived in 2001 in Milwaukee and eventually adapted into the full two-act version we have today. From there the show had a Los Angeles premiere in 2006 and an Off-Broadway run in New York in 2008 with a revival Off-Broadway in 2016.

The music is fun and timeless and this show really has something that everyone in the audience will enjoy. I challenge you to spot all the dance moves you know from the 50s and 60s as you watch, and I know some of you will be singing in your seats.

Tickets are available online at tickets.theatrenorthwest.com – get yours before they sell out!